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In Caenorhabditis elegans, the six proteins that make up the REF-1 family have been identified as functional homologs of the Hairy/Enhancer of Split (HES) proteins. These transcription factors act in both Notch dependent and Notch-independent pathways to regulate embryonic events during development; however, their post-embryonic functions are not well defined. As a first step toward understanding how the REF-1 family works together to coordinate post-embryonic events, we used gene expression microarray analysis to identify transcriptional targets of HLH-29 in L4/young adult stage animals. Here we show that HLH-29 targets are genes needed for the regulation of growth and lifespan, including genes required for oxidative stress response and fatty acid metabolism, and the ferritin genes, ftn-1 and ftn-2. We show that HLH-29 regulates ftn-1 expression via promoter sequences upstream of the iron-dependent element that is recognized by the hypoxia inducible factor, HIF-1. Additionally, hlh-29 mutants are more resistant to peroxide stress than wild-type animals and ftn- 1(RNAi) animals, even in the presence of excess iron. Finally we show that HLH-29 acts parallel to DAF-16 but upstream of the microphthalmia transcription factor ortholog, HLH-30, to regulate ftn-1 expression under normal growth conditions.


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PLoS ONE 8(3): e59719. doi:

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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